tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC September 27, 2016 3:30am-4:00am EDT
tonight this is it. donald trump is hillary clinton meeting face to face in their first presidential debate, a live 90-minute showdown between two very different candidates with everything on the line. the critical question. can the two most unpopular people ever to run for president change some minds tonight? a record audience of over 100 million expected to tune in.
crucial contest? "nightly news" begins right now. this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. substituting tonight and reporting from the campus of hofstra university, savannah guthrie. and good evening. i'm savannah guthrie, in for lester who is getting ready to moderate tonight's presidential debate. the stage is literally set right behind us. there are the two clinton and donald trump will take their positions in just a short while from now. and the stage is set in every other way. in expectations, in stakes, in suspension, in importance to the choice voters make in 43 short days. tonight, a string of new polls shows the race is nail-bitingly close for both candidates. our new nbc news/survey monkey poll shows clinton holding on to the lead by five points.
battleground states as well. some are estimating a total audience on the order of 100 million tonight and that's super bowl level. we have our political team assembled and ready to go. nbc's hallie jackson won the coin toss, and she starts us off this evening. good evening. >> reporter: good evening. and if we're sticking with the football talk, put it this way, donald trump cannot afford a fumble tonight. candidate spent the day relaxing. trump has seen the stage where you are, but neither he nor voters have seen anything like what's about to happen. >> thank you, everybody. >> reporter: tonight, despite all his time on tv, donald trump is facing his biggest audience yet, and to prepare, he's doing it like he always does -- his way. no mock debates, no practice podiums, but
debates. huddling with advisers like chris christie, rudy guiliani, even disgraced former fox head roger ailes. watch for trump to go after clinton on national security and foreign policy, inviting to former generals along with i gold star mother. in his 11 past primary performances, trump's had presidential moments like his after the senate slammed new york values. >> we rebuilt downtown manhattan and everybody in the world watched and everybody in the world loved new york and loved new yorkers. >> reporter: but those moments haven't lasted. so tonight, that's trump's most important play -- proving he has the temperament to be commander in chief. insults could backfire if he comes off like a bully. >> crooked hillary. >> reporter: and trump's tendency to fudge facts may put him in risky
gaining the wrath, been talking to the media saying it's your job to make mur donald trump is fact-checked in realtime. >> reporter: if she manages to get under his skin, no telling what trump could do. always unpredictable, unfiltered. >> donald trump comes into the debate with serious questions about his f questions about his temperament, he needs to show steadiness and the american people need to see someone, if he's going to be successful, who is applausible commander in chief. >> reporter: and underscoring the stakes, our new polling shows 34% of americans say tonight's debate will be important in deciding their vote. savannah? >> hallie jackson in the spin room, starting us off. now for how hillary clinton is preparing. she is an experienced debater, comfortable
challenge tonight, issues of trustworthy and character that have dogged her throughout this campaign. >> reporter: hillary clinton bracing for the biggest moment of her political life, aides say leaving nothing on the table. even today a last-minute prep session, after late-night mock debates all weekend. rehearsing at 9:00 p.m. to adjust to the late-night start time, with former aide felipe ryanas, a scrappy new yorker playing donald trump. >> you have 90 moderator and two of you on stage, you can run but you cannot hide. >> reporter: even with 40 debates under her belt, tonight's challenge for clinton, not knowing which trump will show up. she's prepping for a gracious, polite trump, not the bombastic reality tv star. >> she needs point out
he comes. >> no one has any question about her intellect, erexperience, the way she understands the world. what they need to see tonight is more what's in her heart and her gut. >> reporter: a vulnerability she's struggled with for years. >> they seem to like barack obama more. >> well, that hurts my feelings. [ laughter ] >> i don't think i'm that bad. >> you're likeable enough, hillary. >> expect her to hit trump on his temperament, controversial statements about im women and his praise for vladimir putin. raising the stakes for clinton tonight, new polls showing she's losing ground. trump has closed the gap in colorado, now a virtual tie there and in pennsylvania. a state clinton aides say is their fire wall dweans a trump victory. her battle plan includes playing mind games with trump, inviting his rival mark cuban to sit in the front row,
gennifer flowers. but today a clinton aide trying to provoke trump, tweeting if he can't handle mark cuban, how is he going to be commander in chief? >> reporter: tonight is such a big deal that bill clinton may actually show up tonight, aides say. what's harder to predict are the verbal gaffes or the body language that may tell a lot more about a this is the first presidential debate pitting a woman against a very unpredictable man. >> andrea mitchell, thank you. we want to bring in katy tur and kristen welker. katy, who is trump trying to win over tonight? >> reporter: right now, he has a ceiling of about 40% in the polls and that's not enough to win in november. so what operatives say he needs to do, focus on those who still have their doubts. how by not doing what he did in the
letting trump be trump. focusing on what he has to offer and avoiding unnecessary attacks on hillary clinton, avoiding insults. proving to moderate republicans and women that he's not a risk. but trump is a wild card and anything can set him off. that's why you could see his most memorable line, his best zinger in the first 30 minutes of the debate, a headline grabber that could drown out a misstep or a gaffe later on, or a potentially week showing. remember, trump doesn't necessarily voters over. he'll settle on keeping them from voting for hillary clinton. savannah? >> katy tur outside the debate hall here. and kristin, as i turn to you, andrea mentioned one of the voting blocks that clinton needs to win over, millenials. so what's the plan? >> reporter: that's right. clinton is aiming for undecided and especially younger voters. they were critical to the obama coalition in 2008 and 2012. and secretary clinton
right now, she is struggling a bit. remember, during the primary, they overwhelmingly went for senator bernie sanders. our latest nbc news/survey monkey online poll shows many of them are leaning toward third-party candidates, gary johnson getting 16% of millennial voters. so tonight the strategy is to talk about the issues they care about, issues like college affordability, climate change, and also jobs. her other challenge is restoring trust while be r the stakes couldn't be higher. savannah? >> kristen welker, thanks so much. and katy tur as well. a quick program guide as we watch tonight's debate, it's scheduled to last 90 minutes, no breaks. it will be decided into six 15-minute segments, the debate topics selected by the moderator, will include america's direction, achieving prosperity and securing america. hillary clinton won the coin toss and will get the first question.
podiums, trump's is higher to make up for the ten inch height difference between them. that brings us to moderator of "meet the press" chuck todd and tom brokaw who needs no introduction. neither candidates cruising in, hoping for the status quo. they both need to put points on the board. >> a hundred percent. history says we hype them up, they don't much. but this debate is different. there's one in seven voters right now that say they're for gary johnson or jill stein. there's another 10% that are undecided. there's more fluidity to this race going into a first debate than any eye would argue going back to 1992 since ross perot, and frankly, this is why i'm looking forward to this debate as much as i was on that one. i don't think weave seen anything like it, nor a political environment like we're in. >> there are real stakes here. tom, this is a once
in our political system, why the it does feel in some sense historical with these two candidates. >> they always have a built-in drama. everything up to this point has been an out-of-town try-out. now they're on stage. the first woman running for president against a renegade who is a very successful investor in realize and a reality television star who plays by an entirely different set of it's not just what we show tonight. there's going to be live streaming. people will be on social media. this new environment, atmosphere, that we live in, this universe, they'll have a lot to say. whether they can move the needle or not, i don't know. one thing i know about these debates, they always produce a surprise. the ufo is out there. the unforeseen will occur. >> a good note to leave it on. thanks so much. we're all going to be
own lester holt, it starts 9:00 eastern, 6:00 pacific. >> we want to turn to other news now and the horror on the road today in houston. a gunman firing randomly at cars. injuring nine. he was killed in a shoot-out. he had nazi paraphernalia among his belongings. we get details from nbc'ske >> the morning commute turned terrifying in this quiet houston neighborhood. a gunman opening fire for 20 minutes. >> jeez. >> reporter: randomly shooting at drivers near a strip mall. >> i was driving to the gym as usual and suddenly just felt like an explosion inside of my car. and glass everywhere. i heard a few pops, maybe two or three, could smell the powder and hot air from the bullets just flying by. >> reporter: six people shot, a total
>> multiple officers engaged the suspect, who was shooting randomly at passers by as well as anybody he could put his sights on. >> reporter: police say he carried out the attack with a military-style uniform and nazi emblems were found on m of his plongings. at the neighborhood was put on lockdown. residents told to shelter in place. jennifer's husband's >> he was screaming, crying, i'm hit, jen, i'm hit. >> reporter: police say the shooter's car, a black porsche was found nearby. officials have not named the gunman, but say he was a lawyer who lived in the neighborhood and recently had issues with his law firm. police say they're investigating the suspect's problems at work and law enforcement sources tell nbc news, they do not believe the shooter has any
unclear, this is a community shaken and on edge. savannah? >> blake mccoy in houston for us, thank you. in the midwest, deadly floods have 13 iowa counties under states of emergency tonight. the rivers there are rising. businesses are submerged as the flood waters move downstream toward cedar rapids. thousands of residents have been told to evacuate. hundreds of national guard troops are helping to secure the city and there's more misery to the south in antonio, where torrential rains led to a number of water rescues today. still ahead here tonight, hail to the king. so many tributes rolling in for golf legend arnold palmer. we'll have a look back at his amazing life and incredible career on the course. also from nixon's perspiration to gore's
we're back now with a tribute to an american icon. golfing great arnold palmer died on sunday in pittsburgh. he was 87. a true class act, palmer was credited with bringing the game out of the country clubs and to the masses. he became a legend over a career that spanned five deca nbc's joe fryer now with a look back. >> reporter: they called him the king. not the kind who rules over people. quite the opposite. arnold palmer was the man who took an elite sport and made it a pastime for all. >> arnold palmer was the first sprrps of the television era in golf and he had a personal magnetism that almost burst through a black and white television screen. >> a birdie for arnold. >> reporter: it's even said palmer sold a
was that popular, parading across the fairway, flanked by loyal fans, known as arnie's army. >> got to thank god for the game of golf and what it has meant to me. >> reporter: his strong yet unorthodox swing was far from textbook, his career was one for the history books. palmer won seven majors, often battling his on-course rival and off-course friend jack nicklaus. >> when i heard the news last night, i just was crushed. it just sort of felt like a p o >> we all try, but we all never live up to his standard. >> he made the difficult look easy. >> reporter: he paved the way for generations of stars, including tiger woods, who says, he meant so much to the game and to me personally. i knew that i could always call him for advice. palmer's legacy never stopped growing, whether through his multi million dollar golf empire, or his trademark drink, a mix of lemonade and iced
the suspect in a washington state mall shooting that left five people dead has reportedly confessed. 20-year-old arcan cetin appeared in according to court documents, he admitted entering the mall with the rifle on friday and shooting those five people. he was caught on saturday after a massive manhunt. the motive is still a mystery tonight. and he faces five counts of murder, bail set at $2 million. the miami marlins are taking the field tonight with heavy hearts. their first game following the death of star pitcher jose fernandez in a boating accident. every player will wear his jersey number, 16, tonight.
when their boat struck a jedi on sunday morning. the boat was registered to fernandez, but it's unclear who was driving and that crash remains under investigation. bad weather put a damper on the royal family's visit to canada. william and kate were forced to cancel an aerial tour of a rainforest in british dlumia. for princess charlotte this is her first royal tour, but all eyes were on older brother george, when he shut down justin trudeau's request for a high five.
? ? and that's a live look at the stage, hofstra university, the site of what is arguably the most anticipated event in modern political history. with so many eyes on donald trump and hillary clinton, the pressure is on to avoid any unforced errors on the debate stage. as our peter alexander explains, those unexpected moments can
candidate. >> reporter: it's the highest of high wire acts, 90 minutes in front of a national audience, uninterrupted. on this stage, how you appear, sometimes matters more than what you say. take the first televised presidential debate 56 years ago today. kennedy looking poised. nixon famously wiping away sweat. tonight the debate hall will be cool, including air conditioning vents equally spaced above the candidates. even the slightest wrong move on stage with l like president bush appearing disinterested, checking his watch. al gore not faring much better against george w. bush. the vice president rolling his eyes and engaging in what viewed as intimidation that left some voters unimpressed. trump's podium is slightly taller than clinton's. unlike past years, there's no signed agreement between campaigns on
candidates from asking each other questions, calling out someone in the audience, or even declining to participate in the remaining debates. tlul one glaring gaffe can bring down an entire campaign. jerald ford in 1976 during the cold war. >> there is no soviet domination of eastern europe. >> reporter: a good line can diffuse a liability. for reagan, his age. >> i am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and [ laughter ] >> reporter: tonight after months of fierce attacks, an unpredictable face-off. their first real face to face interaction since trump sweating 11 years ago. peter alexander, nbc news, hempstead, new york. >> that's going to do it for us on a monday night. we mentioned the presidential debate airs tonight at 9:00 eastern, 6:00 pacific. i'm savannah guthrie. for all of us at nbc
? ? hillary clinton versus donald trump. who packs the biggest political punches and who won the night? >> you called it the gold standard. you called it the gold standard of trade deals. you said it's the finest deal heard what i said about it and al the sudden you were against it. >> well, donald, i know you live in your own reality, but that is not the facts. >> overwhelming reaction from social media. and the worst bombing syria's seen in five years. and a tribute to a fallen teammate. "early today" starts right now. i'm frances rivera.